How Much Do Pilots Get Paid?
The career of a pilot is often viewed as a glamorous one – and why shouldn’t it be? The opportunity to travel the world and an excellent salary if you manage to land a job with the right airline. However, training to become a pilot is extremely costly and progression requires dedication to ongoing training and extensive travel.
If you’re looking to become a pilot and want a realistic look at how much pilots get paid, or you’re just curious about how much pilots earn, take a read of this post to learn some basic insight into average pilot salaries.
Airline Pilot Salary UK
The most popular piloting career in the UK is to become an airline pilot. UK airline pilot salaries can vary depending on which airline you choose to work for, the type of aircraft you’ll be expected to fly, and how many years of experience you have as a pilot.
There are a few UK pilot salary brackets you can use as a guide, provided by prospects.ac.uk:
|Newly Qualified First Officer||Small-Medium Airline||£24,000 – £28,000|
|Experienced First Officer||Small-Medium Airline||£36,000 – £48,000|
|Captain||Medium Airline||£57,000 – £78,000|
|Captain||Major Airline||£97,000 – £140,000|
It’s worth doing your research to understand the approximate pay brackets of popular airlines in the UK before you decide which airlines you may be interested in. Some airlines may have better reputations than others for paying their staff fairly, and you’ll be able to gauge which these are by keeping a close eye on the media for reports of pilot strikes. Glassdoor is a great resource for finding out UK pilot salaries for particular airlines and finding candid reviews from previous and current staff alike.
We did a little Glassdoor research around some of the key airlines in the UK for you:
|Ryanair||Airline Pilot||£44,000 – £76,000|
|British Airways||Airline Pilot||£65,000|
|British Airways||International Pilot||£120,000|
|Jet2.com||Airline Pilot||£59,000 – £63,000|
|FlyBe||Airline Pilot||£48,000 – £52,000|
|Thomas Cook||Airline Pilot||£52,000 – £57,000|
Information about pilot salaries for larger airlines such as TUI and Virgin Atlantic aren’t as readily available, likely due to the fact that pilots earn different salaries depending on whether they’re scheduled for longhaul flights, and whether they work internationally or on chartered flights. However, due to the large scale of these airline operations, we can assume that pilot salaries for these companies will be towards the higher end of the scale.
RAF Pilot Salary UK
Working for the Royal Air Force is another popular piloting route in the UK and can be an extremely rewarding pathway. RAF payscales are very transparent and include regulated steps for each range and rank, as well as a bonus.
The RAF pay scales are listed armedforces.co.uk as follows:
|RAF Rank||Salary Band (2018-19, 0.9% bonus included in these figures)|
|OF-0 (Step 1-3)||£15,248 – £19,986|
|OF-1 Flying Officer (Step 1-5)||£26,738 – £35,523|
|OF-2 Flight Lieutenant (Step 1-7)||£41,186 – £48,979|
|OF-3 Squadron Leader (Step 1-7)||£51,879 – £62,132|
|OF-4 Wing Commander (Step 1-7)||£72,812 – £84,310|
|OF-5 Group Captain (Step 1-7)||£88,212 – £96,970|
|OF-6 Air Commodore (Step 1-5)||£105,121 – £109,375|
Are Pilot Salaries As Good As They Seem?
The big issue facing prospective airline pilots is the training. Commercial pilot training isn’t publically funded and most airlines only offer a loan for the cost of the training rather than fronting the cost themselves.
This means that to become a commercial pilot, you’ll need a personal investment of anywhere between £40,000 to £120,000 according to flightdeckfriend.com to complete your training depending on the flight school and whether you choose to complete integrated or modular flight training.
Ultimately, if you’re able to secure a loan rather than saving up and paying for your commercial pilot training, much of your pilot salary will have to contribute towards paying off this commercial pilot training loan. With many years of service resulting in a higher salary and paying off your loan quicker, committing to a commercial piloting career will eventually result in huge financial benefits.
The RAF, by comparison, pay for your pilot training in full in exchange for a 12 year commitment to service. So if you’re interested in working for the Royal Air Force rather than a commercial airline, this could be a more financially viable route for prospective pilots.
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